Whether it’s time to renew yours or your child’s’ passport or you’ve just had your new Baby and it’s time to take to the skies, knowing where to start with the whole process can sound a bit of a faff. Luckily for you, we’ve put together all the info you need to make sure that it’s a seamless process for you and your family.

Renewing an existing passport
You can renew your passport whenever you want. If there’s still time left on your passport before it expires when you renew it, it will be added onto the new export date. However, it is recommended that you renew whilst you still have 6 months left on your passport. This is because the process can take up to 4 weeks from when the application is received and if there’s any problem with your supporting documents or invalid photos, the process can be delayed but still be completed in time for your travel.

Photos
Renewal photos can be made at any Kodak or photo shop. You can find them dotted around Dubai at Park & Shop or Spinneys. Make sure you follow the correct procedures that are printed off with your application.

How to apply
The application process is thankfully very simple. You can do everything online and it’s the same process for an adult or child. Before you start your application, make sure you have the following:

Yours or your child’s current passport 2 identical photos:
Any other current passports (issued by other countries)
MasterCard, Visa, Visa Electron, Visa Debit or Maestro (UK domestic) card – (Maestro International cards are not accepted).

There are very detailed guidance notes to help you fill in your online application. Any supporting documents that you have that aren’t in English (including documents showing an address) must be translated by a professional translator. You will need to print, sign and post your declaration form at the end.

Renewing a child’s passport
This is exactly the same process as above, but if your child is 11 or under, you will need to find someone to countersign the passport. Children 12 years and above must sign their own passports or they will be rejected.

A counter signatory is someone who can confirm your child’s identity. They need to confirm that, to the best of their knowledge, the details you have given in the application are correct, and they must also confirm that the photograph is of your child and that they have known you (the parent) for at least two years and confirm that you have parental responsibility for the child.

They need to print clearly: “I certify that this is a true likeness of (first name, last name)” with their signature, full name, profession and date of signing. A British, Irish, EU, US or Commonwealth passport holder can act as the counter signatory for your application, but this may take longer.

We recommend asking your child’s teacher to sign as it is the easiest and quickest way to get this sorted. It also helps that they see your child every day, so they know you and your child!
Please refer to the guidance notes for further details on what is required of the countersignatory.


Applying for a first passport for a new baby

When you apply for your Baby’s first passport the validity will be for 5 years as opposed to 10 years for a regular passport (This is because their photograph will still show your 5 year of child as a Baby otherwise!) You will need a passport for your Baby to have their resident’s visa affixed to their passport and you can then apply for his or her Emirates ID.

The process for Baby’s first passport is the same as above but you do need to provide some additional information. You will need the passport numbers of the Baby’s parents (or adoptive parents), as well as your dates and places of birth and details of your nationality and citizenship at the time of your birth. You will also need your marriage certificate if applicable. Note that if your Baby is born in the UAE, their Arabic birth certificate will need to be translated into English and you will also need the full (long) birth certificate for yourself (as the parent) if you were born outside the UK or if you (as the parent) were born on or after 1 January 1983. A recently introduced procedure is that you also need to send the passport of one parent along with the application for your Baby.

Baby Photos
If your Baby is a few months old and can hold their head whilst you hold them, they can have their picture taken in the photo shop. For very young Babies, we find the easiest way to get a passport photo is to lay them down flat against a white sheet. You’ll be have to snap quickly though, to catch them with their eyes open!

Cost
You have to pay a fee to apply for, or renew your passport and also a courier fee for the passport to be returned to you in the UAE. Note that the fee does not cover the passports and documents to be sent to the UK and you need to organise this separately (see below).
An adult standard 32-page passport is £102.86 (£83 passport + £19.86 courier fee back to the UAE)
An adult jumbo 48 page passport is £110.86 (£91 passport + £19.86 courier fee back to the UAE)
A child passport is £72.86 (£53 passport + £19.86 courier fee back to the UAE)

We recommend you use either DHL or Skynet, who can collect your passport from your door and have it delivered (tracked) to HM Passport Office directly. The cost is approximately 230 AED on top of the passport fees above and we recommend that you specifically declare that it’s a passport that you’re sending (and not just a letter, which is cheaper and would not necessarily cover the full liability of a claim if it were to get lost).

Your original passport and supporting documents will normally be returned to you first by courier and your new passport will normally be delivered a day or two afterwards separately by courier.

Remember, you must sign your new passport before you can use it.

How long
It should take a maximum of 4 weeks from when your application is received, however it normally takes between 8-10 days from the time of a courier collecting it from you in the UAE and receiving the new passport in your hand. If more supporting documents or information are required, or your passport photos are invalid, this can delay the process though, so our advice is to leave at least a month to be on the safe side.

Applying for an emergency travel document
If you need to travel urgently and have lost or damaged your passport or in extenuating circumstances you cannot renew in time, you may be apply for an emergency travel document.

It costs £100 (or the equivalent in Dirhams) to apply for an emergency travel document. The fee isn’t refundable in any circumstances in case you suddenly find your passport and you can apply online here if you’re 16 or over. You’ll need to attend an appointment at the British Embassy in Deira after you have applied online but make sure you have the following with you:

A recent passport photo
Proof of your travel plans, (airline booking) Confirmations (or detailed written travel plans if you can’t book ahead. Your damaged or expired passport if you have it. A police report if your passport has been stolen. Start your application on Her Majesty’s Passport Office website here and check out the full guidance notes.

If your passport is due to expire within days and you’re traveling back to the UK, it’s worth knowing that you can travel back to the UK right up until the expiry date of your passport but you do need 3 months of validity or longer to be able to return back to the UAE (as long as you have a residents visa in your passport), otherwise it’s 6 months.